I silently honor my soul

To only accept that which is born of love and that which is loving,
is a way to honor yourself.

A well must be full to be able to give of its water,
How can you give water or love if you don’t have its source within you?
and while the well within is always full,
it is quite the journey to recognize that it is.
I step away firmly from that which is not born of love, and accept only that which is,
and in this way, I silently honor my soul.

by Shenaz Wahid

Faith in the Desert

It was of little use to have big dreams in a place with little means to achieve them. It was futile, but Razia’s grandfather had told her otherwise and she believed him.
He was after all a very special man.

The women here are intelligent, ambitious, yet there isn’t a place for them to pour their energy nor exuberance. They are eager to learn that universal language that history and time had chosen, that language that stopped them from being a part of the modern world; English. Their own language of course is rich, the use of which could paint unimaginable poetry and imagery from the soul, but it was only of use to their own. The world would listen only to the voice it understood.
If you were a traveler passing by this village deep inside the desert in Rajasthan, you would smile at their lovely faces and modest clothing splashed with color. The eyes of the women, hiding their vast dreams in the boundless desert of their heart. You may take a photo with your phone, that the children will delight themselves for hours with, should you let them play a few games. You may see them and yet not see them, for if you stop to ask, you will find people eager to dream greatly, to learn, to dance, searching for possibility. One thing you will find undoubtedly here, as you would find anywhere in this world; is the hearts of the young women eager to love.

Every girl had a story, of the boy she adored from the same village or the next one, yet here you didn’t speak of these things openly, you told the other girls, but not the boy and never your own parents. They would chose suitably for you.
Razia was no different and yet she was. She had fallen terribly in love with a young man from the next village. A story doomed from the start, one to be silenced and held only as a great yearning in the heart. He was soon engaged to a woman in his own village and that was that!
Razia’s grandfather was a great mystic and a saint, a title he never bestowed upon himself, but one given to him by the people who so adored him. He himself, was always engaged in communion with God, but when people spoke to him, they found in his words meaningful answers to their questions and so they came from all over the village.
He asked them to reach out to God themselves, but when he had something of value to share, he happily did so. His words were always simple,
“Don’t go searching outside yourself asking this person to that one, about who you are. Believe in the pure open space in the desert. Sit here quietly praying and you will have your answers.”
“You must never seek revenge, If you do so, there will be noise and that will be all. If you have been wronged, seek no revenge and one day God will deliver the truth and it’s echoes will be heard by all.” He had asked Razia to have faith in this pure space in the desert where his body now lay buried. The granddaughter of the great mystic said a prayer. She told God of the great love she had for this young man and
Quietly in the open desert she let him go…

A year passed when her father brought to her door a wedding proposal.
Razia rubbed her eyes in utter disbelief to see her love standing before her. Her father had never known. For a reason unknown, the engagement had been called off and Razia’s father who travelled to the next village thought the young man would be a perfect match for his daughter. Faith paved her path. In the traditional Indian wedding, a few tears are shed when the girl parts with her family. Razia couldn’t help not caring for such tradition and no-one smiled and laughed greater than her.

by SHENAZ WAHID
women-carrying-water-pots-desert-of-jaisalmer-rajasthan-india-nikon-d80-shivji-joshi

The wild bull

We are walking down the trail in a little village deep in the mountains of Nepal. The old lady sitting on her porch smiles at the couple.

An argument starts brewing between us over something hopelessly trivial; over tea and a muffin I think.
And somewhere down the few minutes, it becomes about something completely different, like the rain droplet that just met the roaring sea.
I turn around in the other direction, raging and walking furiously toward the woods.
The old ladies smile has turned into laughter. Perhaps she has lived and known all that we are doing.

I walk for long with only the sounds of the woods for company, without even a glance behind. When I stop, he is right behind me. My face wet with tears, he knows I am in no mood to talk. The only thing he says is “I can hear a stream far below, let’s go sit beside it.”   
“I can’t hear any stream.”, I say coldly looking in the direction where there is no pathway, but only a steep downhill descent into nothing.
I know him well for his adventure and wanting to tread paths where there are none, but at that moment I didn’t care.

He knows my stubbornness well too and gives me his hand silently with a smile, somehow guiding me and making a path where there is none, telling me where to put my feet.
Soon enough, we arrive at the stream.
We sit down silently listening to the water, staring at the stones that are a part of the streams journey, hoping that the stream will quieten and wash away the noise we had raised just a little while ago.

Out of nowhere he calls out to me aloud, “Shenaaaaaaaaz”
I ask sharply with the same irritated tone “WHAT?”
“RUNNN.”

Everything happened in seconds that waited just long enough, for us to understand. I looked in front of me and I could not believe my eyes. It was a scene befitting a movie. It was a wild bull with the unmistakable look of death in its eyes, charging toward us. Its eyes burning with fury on its giant body, shaking the ground as it neared.

My first reaction was disbelief and shock. I stood up and spontaneously cried aloud suras from the Quran I had been taught, as a child. Z was surprised as he had never seen me do that and momentarily looked at me and then the bull, before we started to run. We began running up the pathway we had so carefully climbed down, stopping for nothing.
We sprinted as fast as our legs would take us and paused to breathe, only when we reached the stone pathway of the village.

We look behind us and there he was, the wild bull now treading slowly.                      We walked over toward the old lady and sat on her porch. Her laughter had not left her, and now we were laughing hard too. We had escaped with our lives, and we were both sure that had we waited even a moment longer, the wild bull would have taken one of us on its mighty horns.

I still can’t fully comprehend the situation. Was the wild bull territorial and angry that we had ventured, toward his stream? Or was he just a pale ugly reflection of the face of our own anger, showing us how unneeded it was in a magical place, laden with blossoming rhododendron trees, the mountains and creatures of the forest, full of things we had never seen until we arrived there. Full of things we had walked so far to see.

Perhaps the bull was trying to show us the fragility of our lives and the futility of our anger. Everything ended in laughter.
I dreamed of the bull that night, and awoke being grateful to see the light of a new day.

by SHENAZ WAHID